13 April 2015

How to meet people in London


Im interrupting my Valencia posts for something I've been wanting to write about for a while now.

When I moved to London, I didn't know anyone. I had no family, no friends, nada. I met my first friend in the hostel I was staying in, it was rather awkward. Since then I've made a few more friends, its not always easy, you do have to put yourself out there, but one of the great things about London is that there are so many people in the same boat, you are bound to meet others looking for friends too!

Also, lucky for you, I'm here to help you get started. If you are thinking of moving to London but don't know anyone, here are 7 ways to meet people in London (that don't involve going to bar or pub!) and, hopefully, make life-long friends.



Hostel
Obviously not everyone moving to London will stay in a hostel, but it is a good way of meeting people. Some people will be travellers but keep an eye out for people who are looking at shared accommodation websites or job sites. Like I said, I met my first friend in a hostel, I eavesdropped on her conversation and plucked up the courage to butt in and now we hang out every other weekend :)

Work
This might be a bit more difficult depending on which industry you are in. In my first job I made friends with the receptionist who was an Aussie who'd also recently moved to the UK. Everyone else seemed to be content with their own circle of friends. However in my next job, I met a bunch of people, one of whom I became good friends with and recently asked me to be her bridesmaid!

Meetup.com*
I met two more friends through this site. One of which has become one of my best friends. If you haven't heard of it, Meetup.com is a site that is all about getting people together to do stuff, any kind of stuff, whatever you are interested stuff. From knitting, to rock climbing, to culture-vulturing, to dancing and partying and absolutely anything in between and beyond. If you have an interest, no matter what it is, chances are there is a social group for it. I signed up to a few groups, and went to some socials and viola, met a bunch of people, two who I've remained good friends with. They can be a bit hit-and-miss as they can be set-up and run by anyone, so its a good idea try a few. Some groups charge a small fee, but usually you can go to a couple of socials before you decide whether you want to hand over your cash. I wouldn't recommend any that don't do that really. Being London, there are hundreds of groups and you can easily find something else.

ThinkingBob.co.uk*
I found these guys through Meetup.com, where they initially started out. They have since branched off to form their own social club and I am actually a paying  member. I like them because their events are a bit different, they get you thinking and you always meet interesting people. The people who run the club are lovely, really friendly and fun and if you ever meet Phil...well, lets just say he is quite the character! I enjoy their treasure hunts the most (I think it was this post that i mentioned the treasure hunt around Covent Garden where I saw a snowman lick a bin) but they have all sorts of socials to cater for different interests.

Internations.org*
Internations is an expat community website. They have forums for your questions, 'ambassadors' who are local points of contact for the expat community, guides about London and, similar to meetup.com, social groups run by members. Membership is free or paid, Ive opted for the free one. I haven't been to any socials yet, so I cant comment on how good they are for meeting people. However, I mention Internations for 2 reasons, 1) I wrote an article for them a while ago on finding a new home in London so, as a source of information, you know you are getting information from people who live and work where you are. 2) You can approach people directly. Today I met a girl who reached out to me through this website. We come from a similar background and it was nice to meet and get to know her a bit. I'd like to think we got along well and I do hope that I gain another friend as a result. 

Blogging/Tweeting/Instagramming
I have found the blogging community a great source of wonderful people who are open and inspired to go out, meet people, and have adventures. It really is one of the more unexpected benefits of blogging. I have met so many bloggers since moving to London and engaging in the blogging community. There are at least 4 bloggers which I have been getting to know over brunches, afternoon teas and other get-togethers. It really is nice to have someone as keen as you to explore this city with. So if you have been toying with starting your own blog, DO IT! If blogging isn't your thing, try Instagram or Twitter. You are bound to meet lots of people who share your interests and make new friends.

Sporting teams/groups
I'm not a sporty person, but I've listed it here because its worked for my friend K. She joined a running group where she met her fiance. If that isn't a recommendation, I don't know what is! I know there are a lot of sporting teams out there, you see them in the parks on weekends. So, if you are the more active type, this will be a great way to meet people too.

*Not sponsored. These are sites I have personally tried.


Do let me know if any of these work for you or if you have any other ideas to share!



14 comments:

  1. Great ideas! It was lovely to see you at breakfast last Sunday :)
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

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    1. Thanks Angie, was nice to see you too!

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  2. Wish I'd read this when I first moved here! I stumbled around being a Nigel No mates before I discovered Meetup.com and I've made a few good friends from there!

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    1. Aw, it is tough isnt it? Wish i had this list too! Meetup is such a handy site!

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  3. I've never really been in a position where I've had to go somewhere totally new where I didn't know anyone and had to make new friends so I've never really appreciated how hard that must be! I had no idea all these services existed and even though I've been settled here in London for most of my life, I'm still very intrigued by the prospect of a group of people who gather together to do treasure hunts :)

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    1. You are incredibly lucky! I am glad there are options out there, come join a treasure hunt sometime ;)

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  4. I can vouch for pretty much all of these working in all the cities in Europe I've lived in so far! Great list :)

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    1. Oh thats good to know! Thank you.

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  5. I wish I'd also know this when I first got here *sigh* ah well!

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    1. Ah well, you are a wonderful blogging socialite now :)

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  6. It's really tough to make friends in such a big city and I still struggle but blogger events and just having the balls to ask people if they want to do things has worked out pretty OK! I looked at Meetups.com but was too chicken to go to any lol x

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    1. Aw, it is tough, but good on you for mustering up the courage to just ask people to go out - its not easy!

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  7. Here's my contribution. Have a baby. It's a magnet for strangers to talk to you. And great to meet people in the neighbourhood you live in actually. But I get it. It's not for everyone *wink*

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    1. Lol! Thanks Elaine. Its actually a good tip, if people have kids they can meet people through their kids, either like you, or through school, nursery etc. Just keep an eye on those creepy ones.

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